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brake conversion

You are cruising down the road, enjoying the scenery, when suddenly, traffic slows unexpectedly. You squeeze the brake pedal, but the car seems to take its sweet time coming to a stop. “That was a close shave,” you think. You’ve probably be thinking of a brake conversion now.

This scenario may be too familiar if you have drum brakes. They have been around for ages and are relatively reliable. However, technology has changed. We now have disc brakes, which have superior stopping power and performance. Check out this post to understand the difference between disc brakes and drum brakes.

If you are thinking about upgrading, this blog post explores the drum-to-disc brake conversion in Kenya. We will cover the benefits, process, risks, and costs and help you decide if upgrading is the right choice for your ride.

Why Consider Drum Brake to Disc Brake Conversion?

If you are the kind of driver who demands the best from your vehicle or you often navigate challenging roads, upgrading from drum brakes to disc brakes could be a game-changer.

Here’s why:

Conquer brake fade

Have you ever felt like your brakes are less responsive after a twisty descent? That’s called brake fade, which is caused by heat. Drum brakes are more susceptible to this heat-induced performance loss. But disc brakes dissipate heat effectively, allowing consistent braking even during brake-intensive driving sessions or on steep roads.

Superior stopping power

Disc brakes pack a stronger punch when it comes to braking. Their design allows faster stopping and a more confident feel when dealing with sudden stops and driving at high speeds.

Safety first

Shorter stopping distance and reliable braking can make a big difference between a close call and something much worse. Disc brakes give you that extra margin of safety when the unexpected happens. In other words, it’s an investment in peace of mind.

Less maintenance

Well-maintained drum brakes are dependable. However, disc brakes are more reliable and require less maintenance and inspection. This means, you will spend more time enjoying the road.

The Brake Conversion Process

Disc brakes are becoming mainstream for good reason. However, drum-to-disc brake conversion is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Converting drum brakes to disc brakes is not as simple as changing a tire. It is a moderately complex project, and if you mess up your braking system, things get dangerous really fast.

So, unless you have experience as a mechanic, we recommend enlisting the help of a professional. But if you are determined to go the DIY route, do extensive research and prioritize safety at every step.

Here’s a simplified look at the steps involved in the drum-to-disc brake conversion process:

Out with the old

You’ll dismantle the entire drum brake assembly – backing plate, drum, brake shoes, and the works.

In with the new

This is where your conversion kit comes in. You will install a caliper bracket, a shiny new rotor, the caliper itself, and fresh brake pads.

Brake lines matter

The new system may require adjustment or replacement of brake lines.

Bleed the System

Bleeding removes air bubbles from the brake lines, which is vital for proper brake function.

Depending on your vehicle, you might have to deal with factors like adjusting or replacing the handbrake system. This is why the cost and complexity of the conversion process widely vary from car to car.

If this process makes you feel anxious, call in the pros. Your safety and the safety of others on the road are paramount.

Potential Risks and Considerations of a Brake Conversion

Before jumping headfirst into the drum-to-disc brake conversion, first hit the brakes (pun intended) and consider a few things. We are not trying to discourage you from converting; we’re trying to help you make an informed decision.

  • It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution: Not all conversion kits will work for your car. Double and triple-check that the parts you are getting are specifically designed for your car’s make, model, and year. A mismatched setup is the first ingredient in a recipe for a distasteful situation on the road.
  • The handbrake problem: Older vehicles use drum brakes in the handbrake system. Converting to disc brakes means a significant change to how your handbrake works and might warrant a complete replacement. This makes the project more complex and costlier.


Drum-to-disc conversions are definitely doable, but rushing into them can lead to a headache at best or even worse. A bit of research and a realistic assessment of your skills will go a long way in ensuring a safe and successful outcome.

The Cost of Disc-to-Drum Brake Conversion

How much will it cost to convert from drum to disc brakes? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to that question. The cost varies based on several factors:

  • Type of vehicle: Your vehicle’s make, model, and year play a big role. Parts availability and complexity of the conversion for your specific car will impact the price tag.
  • Kit quality—don’t skimp: Conversion kits range from basic to high-performance setups and have varying price tags. While tempting to save a few shillings, consider this an investment in safety. Opt for quality components from reputable brands.
  • The master cylinder: Sometimes, a brake master cylinder upgrade might be recommended for optimal performance with your new disc brakes. This adds to the overall expense.
  • Parking brake: Remember the parking brake issue? Depending on your car, solutions for this can range from simple adjustments to the cost of an entirely new parking brake system.
  • DIY or Pro? If you are not doing the conversion yourself, factor in the labour cost. Mechanics’ rates vary, so getting a few quotes is always wise.

A drum-to-disc brake conversion is not one of the cheapest upgrades for your ride, but it can be worth it considering the performance and safety benefits.